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Anchor Steam Beer | Anchor Brewing Company

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very good
2,015 Reviews
Anchor Steam BeerAnchor Steam Beer

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: California Common / Steam Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Anchor Steam® Beer owes its deep amber color, thick, creamy head, and rich, distinctive flavor to a historic brewing process like none other.

It is a process that combines deep respect for craft brewing tradition with many decades of evolution to arrive at a unique approach: a blend of pale and caramel malts, fermentation with lager yeast at warmer ale temperatures in shallow open-air fermenters, and gentle carbonation in our cellars through an all-natural process called kräusening.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-08-2001

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Reviews: 2,015 | Ratings: 5,860
Photo of blitheringidiot
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

What a pour! Appetizing huge pillowy, cake like antique white head that settled into a 1/2" pour over a clear copper teeny bead carbonation. Cryptic freshness date in the label: 4FB.

Spicey nose of cardamon and carrot cake. Mmmm...

Blends of nutmeg and a suggestion of root beer. An A+ for creativity. This is another offering that reminds me of those candies that has the gooey caramel outside and the white sugary middle.

Solid foamy feel. Crisp even after sitting. Goes back like me gullet is pried open.

An easy summer swiggable brew. Awfully drinkable.

Last swigs: This is an historical brew. A truely American style. Blend of lager and ale. Hmmm... interesting. Steam derives from the "steam" carbonation that used to sizzle out from these beers when tapped.

Beer is good. Happy historical beering.

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Photo of abcsofbeer
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have tried this one several times and keep going back to it as it is a good session beer. Pours a medium to dark amber color with a creamy off white head about two fingers wide. The head leaves beautiful, sticky lace all over the glass. There is a great deal of carbonation as witnessed by the numerous bubbles rising to the surface.

The aroma is kind of nutty with a sweet smell in there. The taste is nutty and slightly malty, but only a trace of a hop prescence. Mouthfeel is good and smooth, almost too smooth, though. Overall, a good beer to enjoy anytime.

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Photo of Gagnonsux
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had to try Anchor Steam since it is one of the few American classics. Appearance is a dark copper with medium-sized, creamy head. Smell is clean, slightly hoppy, with a note of sweetness. Taste is nicely balanced. Mild malts and hops combine for a fairly complex taste. Slight citrus taste is noted on the edges of the sip. Thankfully, Anchor Steam is a full-flavored brew that doesn't feel too heavy for high drinkability. Overall, I really liked this beer, but didn't find it to be the most exciting style around. Anchor Steam is a must-try though, it's not often you find the originator of a style of beer.

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Photo of Ricochet
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this a long time ago and it wasn't a taste I wanted to re-visit compared to the awesome Anchor Porter. I was able to mix-and-match a 6 from my local beverage store so I got a couple and I was pleasantly suprised.

Appearence: Dark amber, little head.

Smell: Slight fruity scent but an unusual note like no other beer making this unique.

Mouthfeel: Foamy and rich

Taste: It starts out a little lighter, almost like a champagne. A slight "Trappist Monk Ale" note assuming that comes from how this beer is hopped. Strong alchololic taste and strong hoppy flavor with no fruity flavors. Towards the end, just a slight lager flavor.

This Anchor is a very unique and respectable beer. I'll have it again as a change up or sampler but I prefer the porter/liberty ale.

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Photo of Jacobob10
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap @ Whiskey's in Boston, MA.

Amber/brown color with a creamy head. Left some nice lacing on thw glass as it went down, and it went down FAST. Very smooth tasting. Very well-balanced hops and malts. Sweet and bitter tasting, yet is not rough on the palate. A truly unique beer that goes down way too easy. A must try!

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Photo of ybnorml
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a clean amber ale with afizzy white heat that disappears quickly. The beer has a light sweet malty aroma. The malt flavor promised in the aroma gives way to an assertive hop bitterness before giving a crisp clean finish. A tasty drink for when you're having more than one.

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Photo of Hibernator
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this out of a 12 oz brown bottle served in a pint glass.

The appearance is a nice copper bronze with a thick 1 inch head. Creamy and sticky head. Some lacings, but they didn't sustain like some beers.

The smell is malty and distinctive, classic Anchor.

The taste is sweet and full. Grainy and complete sips. It's hard to compare this beverage to anything else, it's totally original. The carbonation is so nice too, providing a very soft mouthfeel. The soft quality only adds to the drinkability.

All I can say is that this is one quality beer. A standard in the craft beer market and always welcomed by me when I see it on tap at a bar. It might be a tad overpriced for a 6 pack. I think a 6 pack goes for around $8.39 or usually higher, but this is a solid product and a true session beer.

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Photo of kbub6f
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The beer is clear, dark amber with a big, yellow-tan, foamy, active head that collapses crustily. It leaves soap-film runny lacing. Fruit and crackers in the nose. A fruity, bitter front. A light, fruity middle showing some caramel. A nutty, fresh, bitter finish. A little tea. Hoppy aftertaste. This is a nice, fresh, hoppy, light beer. A good dinner beer.

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Photo of oxmasterscream
3.63/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber with a 2 finger, thick head which stuck around for quite a while. I recognized immediate sweet malt smells with just a touch of hops. The taste is nice and balanced - malty, even nutty maybe followed by a bit of bitterness from the hops; it's a smooth, easy drinking beer. It seems to be a little overly carbonated and maybe that adds an interesting, individual characteristic to it; I'm not sure. At times, I felt like I couldn't find my way through the bubbles to get a good grip on some other lesser tastes though. It's still very drinkable, tastes pretty good and obviously, very popular as a result.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
3.16/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz brown bottle. No date.
It pours a pale gold/copper color with a pure white fizzy head.
A light malt aroma rises up then fades quickly. A faint smell of floral hops is noticed.
A light biscuity malt flavor is somewhat lost in the seltzery effervescence.
The light metallic hop bite is also diminished within the Champagne-like spritziness. It's well made but too un-beer-like.
Much different and better on draught!

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Photo of misterscooter
4.14/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is a classic. I don't run across it all too often even though it is a local beer but it represents the area well. I came across it again tonight at a reception and when it is available, I always have at least one. Strangely, I usually don't want more than one but it is easy to twist my arm.

Out of the bottle, it has a small, albeit sharp bite. Fairly dry but smooth in your mouth, easy to swallow. The aftertaste lingers but doesn't bother you and seems to invite you to take another pull. I don't recall any specific flavors coming out, which makes me think it is benign but I know there is a lot to it. Perhaps it is the maltiness slightly surrounding the other nuances in it. It is a beer worth taking the time to savor. I should have done that more tonight.

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Photo of tjd25
3.62/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The head is dense and regular and faded quickly; the body is of a red amber color. The smell is very malty and reminded me mostly of sweet watery caramel. Almost porto like. A bit yeasty, showing also a fruity character, maybe sweet strawberries. Also a chestnut aspect and a very dry floral note of straw. Interesting. The taste shows caramel but mostly a sweet winy/porto-like fruitiness, oaked and viscuous. Some sweet citrus too. A thick and dry hoppiness reveals a mint and chocolate character. The mouthfeel is quite pronounced, but maybe the accent on the hops is a bit over the top. Maybe a bit too thick to be highly drinkable.

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Photo of jayb
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out a nice orangish reddish color with a puffy off-white head. head was chunky in parts and left a fair amount of lacing on the glass. i didnt get much of a smell from this beer, a slight flowery scent with a bit of bitterness maybe. Taste was well balanced. A nice bitter hop bite at the beginning, but got sweeter as it warmed up. finished dry and tasty. A nice brew that is very smooth drinking. this would be a nice beer to have any time of the day. clean, refreshing, and different. Jay enjoyed this one.

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Photo of malthead
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Good appearance, dark amber color and big head. No single, overwhelming smell... mostly just clean, dry, a little malt, maybe a little hops. Taste is rather nondescript as well, maybe just a little grain, except for a strange, slightly bitter aftertaste. I like a good bitter, but this is either too bitter or not bitter enough, it just doesn't seem to work for me. However, this is my first of the style, so take that into consideration. Good drinkability, it goes down smoothly, but I just can't say I'd want to buy another one.

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Photo of beerinator
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Reddish Brown. Very clear beer. The head is diminishing and off-white, but there is nice lacing on the glass after each sip.

Aroma: Sweet malt. The smells a slightly bready. There are hints of brown sugar sweetness in the nose.

Taste: Sweet caramel builds to a dry finish. Their is a bit a fruit in the flavors, maybe raisin. The dark sugary flavors from the caramel and the malt help with the mouthfeel.

Notes: This is a solid beer. It doesn't have bold flavors, and it's not high in alcohol so it would be a good style to consume a few of. The mouthfeel is nice and the beer is pleasant to drink.

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Photo of necoadam
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Eli Cannon's

Color was copper with a nice amount of carbonation. Smell was quite clean but some of the malts really showed up in the aromas. They were a little bit more rich than the bottle verison. Taste was a little bit of a let down. It focused more on the earthy tones than anything. I was expecting more of a hop/malt combination just like the bottle verison, but it was mostly earth tones. Not bad by any means, but I would of liked to see some more flavors in there.

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Photo of flaminghomer
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

i've been waiting to have this beer for a long time. it has a sweetness to it that usually goes along with high abv ales, but this one is under 5%. so i cant figure that out. a little too malty and sweet for me to love it, though i can surely taste that is made of quality beer goodness :) it has a good amount of hops but the malts over power them. the color and appearance are very pleasing.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer was a nice amber color, slightly cloudy, with a low head when I poured it. A good looking brew.

The aroma was of slightly sweet malt, some woodiness, and some depth of hoppiness.

The taste did not disappoint. It was nicely bitter, which lasted long into the aftertaste. It also was smooth and rich. A little thin to the taste, though, so the mouthfeel was a little less than what I expected.

Still, a good beer and one to add to your tasting list when you can find it.

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Photo of surfmeister
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slightly hazy copper color with firm, fluffy head which later broke into chunks and stuck to the glass, nice lacing. Malty smell, with earthy slightly nutty, uniquely woody undertones. Taste was very much like an amber lager with a hint of fruitiness, consistent with the beers' hybrid nature, very flavorful and complex. Hops were firm but in no way overbearing, nicely balanced. Very easy to drink many of these fine beers.

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Photo of donnebaby
3.63/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a clean bronze gold color, and pretty much still in the glass, with a small head that fell to a thinner ring of cream and haze. Smell is light malts, flavorful but not too wild.

Taste was also flavorful caramel malts, with fruity apple notes. Clean finish, scant hops. The mouthfeel was the highlight for me, crisp yet firm soft bubbles.

This beer seemed highly drinkable to me, and great with the chicken gumbo I was eating.

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Photo of niknar
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a light copper with an off-white head. It built a good head readily, and eventually settled to about a 1/4 inch thick... still hasn't totally disappeared. Smells somewhat of sweet malt and fruity esters. Better smell than most beers I've reviewed so far. Tastes great! Immediate bitterness, balanced by smooth malt and fruity flavors. Finishes dry with a lingering bitterness...not too much, but enough to let you remember you've had a great beer. Mouthfeel also very good. Just enough carbonation to keep it light, but still feels substantial enough for my dark beer tastes. This is definitely a beer I can drink over and over again... a wonderful offering!

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Photo of JackTheRipper
4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Let me preface this review by saying that this is the first time I've tried this style, so my review may reflect a more subjective thought process.
A: Pours a nice amber color. Head was initially a big fluffy two inch deal. (I'm drinking it out of my fave beer glass, a Stella Artois glass I got at a bar). Head dissipated quickly, no lacing seen.
S: Heavy malty sweet aroma with some caramel hints. No hop aromas. Smell is quite unique and very pleasing.
T: Nice roasty malt taste right up front. There's something happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear... This beer has a malty flavor I can recognize, but there's something else going on I don't know how to describe other than saying that it's damned tasty. Finish is a sharp sort of twang that doesn't last, there's virtually no aftertaste here.
M: Slick carbonation, medium bodied, with a nicely low ETOH level compared to some of the beers I've been drinking. Two of these won't have you giving your keys to a friend.
D&N: This a beer unlike any other. The taste is familiar, but with something extra that really makes this beer shine. I haven't finished a beer this quickly in a long time, but it's just so tasty that I "reviewed" it in about twenty minutes. Highly recommended.

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Photo of pheurton
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

earthy brown color of tree bark, with a tight foamy head that is just off-white and hangs around in the form of an ever-present collar. weak aroma of nutty grain and lemony hops. not much there. light to medium body builty on a foundation of steady CO2 bubbles. surprising sharp and earthy flavor that is completely new to me. this beer has a character all of its own, i keep thinking earthy in my mind, but not in a hoppy sense. this flavor dominates, which is followed by a salty/lemony hop bite that is actually quite assertive for a lager. easy to put away a few, once you become friends with the flavors going on here.

on of the boldest lager beers i can think of, unique and full of character. i don't know if i'd always reach for this first, but i think it will always stick out in my mind. another winning original.

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Photo of TheOtherMike
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I do like this beer - but I only get it when I cannot get their Liberty Ale. So I usually find myself drinking it while wishing I had a Liberty, which tends to lessen my opinion of this beer. I should really appreciate what it has to offer:

Nice rich color with a moderate head, a complex taste that says "this is beer, and good beer too". It doesn't try to be anything else other than a very good beer.

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Photo of Hunter
3.66/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I've always liked the distinctive pot-bellied bottle, label, and blue cap.

Beer pours a nice tan head with good retention. Beer itself is a deep copperry color. Thin traces of carbonation throughout.

Sweet malt, light hops in the nose. As the beer warms it seems to go through a brief phase if unpleasantness before settling into a much nicer hop/spice note.

Hops are more prevalent in the taste but not by much; malt still dominates here. Finishes nicely. And yes, you'll have another.

This is a good one for those new to the microbrew scene to cut their teeth on.

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Anchor Steam Beer from Anchor Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 5,860 ratings.
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